Trainer Ron Leeman will leave riding tactics up to Tommy Berry as the young jockey strives to win his first Group 1 on Manawanui at Randwick tomorrow.
Manawanui has maintained favouritism all week for the Group 1 $500,000 Turnpoint Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) and is currently at $3.25, slightly ahead of Australian Guineas winner Mosheen ($3.75).
Berry got his chance to ride Manawanui again after regular rider Glyn Schofield was suspended for careless riding resulting from the Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on March 3 when the three year old was first past the post but relegated to second on protest.
Leemon is not too concerned with Manawanui drawing gate eleven and said he wouldn’t be worried if Berry went forward on the three year old or ride him quiet from behind.
“It’s not terrible. I was hoping for about seven or eight but there is speed on the outside and hopefully he will get a cart across,” Leemon said.
“People forget we can still drop out and come home as well, and that’s another option, but Tommy has to read the race as it occurs and how he jumps and what the speed is like up front.”
“There’s no point sitting back if there’s no speed.”
Leemon has put behind him the disappointment of the protest defeat in the Hobartville when Manawanui crowded the runners to his inside and is happy with his progress on the track since.
“He had a tough run, facing the breeze all the way but he is a funny horse,” Leemon said.
“If he gets pushed around he will start pushing back and I think it was more than that.”
“I worked him outside of Hurtle Myrtle the other day and he went as straight as a die.”
Leemon believes Manawanui should be undefeated this campaign and be going into tomorrow’s race with two wins from his last two starts.
“He probably should be undefeated this time in,” he said.
“He’s very close to where I want him, he’s fit enough to win the race if he is good enough.”
Berry knows the gelding well and was aboard him two starts back when he just failed to run down Hot Snitzel in the Group 2 $175,000 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on February 18 after being held up for a run in the straight.
He has tasted Magic Millions success on Karuta Queen last year as well as this year on the Gai Waterhouse two year old Driefontein but has yet to salute a Group 1 victory.